students stand in a group with instruments
Category: Georgetown Magazine, Spring 2023

Title:Georgetown Pep Band turns 100

Author: Rosemary Lane and Joanne Stirrup
Date Published: April 17, 2023
a marching band performs in WashingtonThe Georgetown Band was often called upon to play at local events. In this photo, they are performing at the Army Day parade in downtown DC in 1933. They even reportedly played for the world premiere of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968 in DC, which was attended by director Stanley Kubrick.

students stand in a group with instruments

In its early years, the band wore military regalia, which included blue and gray jackets, trousers, and waist-high capes. Yearbook and Hoya articles reported that, in 1926, the band traded in military wear for “snappy uniforms” of white ducks, blue sweaters, and sailor hats, however temporarily. The photo above, from 1947, shows the group on the steps of White-Gravenor Hall. By the 1960s, according to yearbook photos, the ensemble adopted more formal attire before switching to its current blue and gray striped shirt in the late 1970s.

the marching band plays music

The ensemble, which started as a 30-piece military band, has grown into a 61-member student-run band that drums up school spirit at basketball, football, soccer and, for the first time last spring, lacrosse games.


Since 1922, the pep band has played for U.S. presidents, in DC parades, and at hundreds of Hoya games and school functions, rousing crowds with its “Hoya Saxa!” chant and the Georgetown Fight Song.

“There is nothing that builds campus spirit as well as a band can,” says Ron Lignelli, a former pep band director, advisor, and conductor who recently retired as administrative director of Georgetown’s Department of Performing Arts after a 37-year career.

Last October, Richard Fiesta (C’79, L’82, G’82), a former band president, and other alumni launched the Ronald J. Lignelli Band Endowed Fund to provide ongoing support for the band’s instrument purchase and maintenance.

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